Board Members and Executive Assistants

We are pleased to have a diverse, highly-credentialed team on our Board. 

Members and Executive Assistants are drawn from all branches of legal practitioner, legal academic and community organisations.

Ross Lee

Ross Lee

President, Chair

Ross Lee has been a lawyer since 1998 following an eight-year insurance career. He values influential, ethical legal practise, keeping in touch with clients, cost efficiencies and results. Lee Lawyers does not advertise – reputation is its currency.

An effective litigation advocate and nationally-accredited mediator, Ross resolves client disputes in commercial, building, property, body corporate, insolvency and estate matters. Legal risk management is a special interest.

Ross has a strong practice in general insurance, life insurance and compensation claims. He is one of few lawyers accredited as an ANZIIF Certified Insurance Professional (CIP). Prior to law, Ross practised as an underwriter and loss adjuster – giving great insight, now working for the insured.

A QLS Senior Counsellor since 2013, Ross is also a commissioned Notary Public – a requirement for international matters. He comes from a long line of service in the Gold Coast community and is founding president of My Community Legal.

Kirsty O'Donnell

Kirsty O'Donnell

Vice President, Collaborations

George Pharmacis

George Pharmacis

Treasurer, Major Events

George Pharmacis is the Principal of Pharmacis Canning Lawyers, originally Canning Lawyers, serving the Gold Coast for over 20 years. George holds a Bachelor of Laws (Bond) and Post Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice (Bond). Having achieved a First Place in Electronic Banking Law, he went on to Corporate and Commercial Law Specialisation and General Legal Practice Specialisation.

George specialises in Criminal, Domestic Violence, Family Law, Wills, Estate Planning and Probate, Litigation and Dispute Resolution and he is admitted to practice in the Supreme Court and High Court of Australia.

Although George has been practising law for many years it is his strong commitment to the community that benefits his clients the most.  George has adopted the Latin phrase ‘Esse quam videri ‘ (To be, rather than to seem) as his motto, which sums up his personal character and business practice particularly well. Using his innate ability to quickly assess and weigh up a client’s options, George focuses on achieving the best outcome for the client while endeavouring to avoid expensive time consuming litigation. 

Jade Castle

Jade Castle

Secretary, Membership

Jade is the associtation Secretary of My Community Legal.

She holds a Bachelor of Laws (Honours) from Griffith University. 

Jade is particularly passionate about access to justice, for assisting those in need and building public faith in the legal system. At current, Jade is working towards her admission and seeks to become a lawyer within the coming months.

In addition, Jade is a dedicated volunteer for Rotary Club of Koala Lovers and has received many awards for her community service.

Chris Barron

Chris Barron

Committee, Social

I’m a Senior Associate of Collas Moro Ross practising predominantly in Court Work, Litigation and Commercial law. I’m experienced in representation and dispute resolution as a solicitor advocate, and regularly appear for clients in matters across various Courts and Tribunals.

I strive to meet my client’s expectations to offer no-nonsense, practical and commercial solutions when they come to us with their disputes or other legal issues. I am also currently admitted to candidature in the Master of Laws LLM (Applied Law) majoring in commercial litigation with the College of Law, with the goal of eventually becoming an Accredited Specialist in Commercial Litigation.

I hold a number of positions in community organisations- volunteering as a solicitor at three Community Legal Centers, as a surf lifesaver, as a Vice President and an ordinary Member respectively on two Management Committees, and working in Child Safety with disadvantaged youths. In 2020 I have been recognised for my work in the pro bono space, as a finalist in the Lawyers Weekly 30 Under 30 (Pro Bono category). 

Andrew Bell

Andrew Bell

Committee, Compliance

Andrew is a recently admitted solicitor following a long career as an indpendent information technology consultant to government, corporations, SMEs and not-for-profits. 

Mitch Brown

Mitch Brown

Committee, Compliance

Dr Samuli Haataja

Dr Samuli Haataja

Committee, Griffith University Engagement

Dr Samuli Haataja is a Senior Lecturer at Griffith Law School, Griffith University. His research explores law and emerging technologies with a focus on cyberspace and public international law. 

He published his book Cyber Attacks and International Law on the Use of Force: The Turn to Information Ethics with Routledge in 2019, and he has published in various international law and technology journals.

He is also a member of the Program on the Regulation of Emerging Military Technologies (PREMT) and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Society on Social Implications of Technology (IEEE SSIT).

Tari Kajese

Tari Kajese

Commmittee, Community Engagement

Tari Kajese is passionate about Community support and Systems Advocacy. Tari migrated to Australia over 10 years ago, after completing her Masters in International Relations and Masters in Social Work, she fell in love with Australia and decided to make this home. She has worked In various NGOs supporting and advocating for the needs of vulnerable people who need to navigate a complex social system on a daily basis.

Tari’s role as a Systems Advocate assists workers and agencies, including government and non-government organisations to improve their capability, both as individual agencies and collectively as a system, to deliver more appropriate responses when working with people in the community affected by issues such as Domestic & Family Violence.

Martin (Marty) Mallon

Martin (Marty) Mallon

Committee, Compliance

My name is Martin (Marty) Mallon and I am an enthusiastic and committed wills and estate litigation solicitor based on the Gold Coast, Queensland. I always advocate on my clients’ behalf to achieve the best possible outcomes for them. I pride myself on the results that I achieve for my clients.

I hold a Master of Laws (Corporate and Commercial Law), Postgraduate Diploma in Legal Practice, Bachelor of Laws (Hons) and have been admitted as a solicitor in the Supreme Court of Queensland and High Court of Australia. I am experienced in a number of areas of law and have developed a passion for litigation and dispute resolution matters, particularly in wills and estates. I am a STEP Affiliate member.

I currently practice solely in the area of wills and estate disputes with experience across Queensland, New South Wales and Victorian jurisdictions. I act for both Applicants and Respondents across a range of matters.

I have been successful in achieving positive outcomes for beneficiaries and executors in estate disputes ensuring that there is minimal loss to the estate. 

Jennifer Nielsen

Jennifer Nielsen

Committee, Southern Cross University Engagement

Jennifer Nielsen is a long-term member of the School of Law and Justice’s academic team. She has held several leadership roles in the School including Head of School from 2009-2011, School Director of Research and Research Training 2011-2013, and LLB Course Coordinator from 2005-2007.

As well as being an active researcher, she has taught across the School?s undergraduate curriculum, teaches into the LLB Honours program, and is Principal Supervisor to several PhD candidates. She is active in the community and is the current Chairperson of the Committee of Management, Northern Rivers Community Legal Centre.

In 2001, she was awarded `Volunteer of the Year’ by the NSW Law & Justice Foundation for her long-term commitment to improving access to justice in the region, particularly for socially and economically marginalised people. Before joining Southern Cross in 1994, she practised as a solicitor in New South Wales and Victoria, and worked in academic positions with both the Monash Orientation Scheme for Aborigines and the Faculty of Law at Monash University.

Miranda Podleska

Miranda Podleska

Committee, Bond University Engagement

Miranda is an admitted Solicitor of the Supreme Court of Queensland and High Court of Australia.

Miranda holds a Bachelor of Economics degree from the University of Tasmania, Graduate Diploma in Applied Finance and Investment from the Australian Securities Institute and Diploma of Law from the New South Wales Legal Profession Admission Board. She completed her Graduate Diploma of Legal Practice at Bond University.

Miranda commenced her professional career in banking and finance and prior to entering legal practice she worked exclusively in building and property development for over a decade.   Miranda’s key areas of legal practice are commercial and property law and her extensive experience gives her a sound understanding of the needs of clients who operate in the business and corporate sector.

Miranda joined Bond University in 2017 and teaches Property Law Practice, Banking and Finance Law and Corporate and Commercial Practice in the Centre for Professional Education.

Adeline Yap

Adeline Yap

Committee, Social

Adeline Yap is My Community Legal’s association former vice president and founding secretary. She is also a commercial solicitor at a law firm situated on the Gold Coast.

As a Gold Coast resident, Adeline is committed to this area.

Adeline enjoys being active and attending networking events.

Shelley Scott

Shelley Scott

Executive Assistant to President

Rovin (Vin) Distor

Rovin (Vin) Distor

Executive Assistant to Treasurer

Rovin’s knowledge, skills and other attributes can be summarised into three words: Curious, Compassionate, and Collaborative.

Rovin is curious to learn more.  He is compassionate to serve others better.
Rovin’s collaborative spirit and intent will surely enables the team to achieve the best outcome.

Rovin writes about legal and business-related contents that focus on enabling readers to be aware and critique contemporary issues that are happening in these two fields. 

Nathan Burke

Nathan Burke

Executive Assistant to Secretary